Secrets of CMMS Implementation with Joseph Schmitt
It’s my pleasure to welcome Joseph Schmitt to the podcast. He is a VP of customer success at Upkeep. The team focused on deploying and implementing upkeep at new locations.
Our customer success team is focused on driving the post onboarding relationship. It’s really honing in on adoption and making sure that customers are successful using the tool, and then also our technical support team.
In this episode we covered:
- What would you define as a CMMS implementation?
- Is that the definition of successful implementation or is there more or less to it?
- What steps or process have you seen or utilized to make sure that we get that successful implementation?
What would you define as a CMMS implementation?
Centralizing your maintenance program and your activities in a software. And this process ranges from centralizing your data, your workflows, and really making sure that the things that we’re maintaining have a record. The outcome of having a CMMS system is having an easy-to-use tool, capturing business or capturing data to make better business decisions and also articulate the value that the maintenance team has on the business.
Is that the definition of successful implementation or is there more or less to it?
There’s more of what a successful implementation looks like. I think the number one measure of success of a CMMS implementation is whether the team uses it right? Your end users are going to essentially make or break. If we’re not processing work inside a CMMS system, we’re not getting those key data points that we need to do reporting. We have a saying here at Upkeep; if it’s not in Upkeep, it didn’t exist.
What steps or process have you seen or utilized to make sure that we get that successful implementation?
- Defined our system requirements. This allows us to know the scope of our implementation, which essentially will give us a position of to set up
- Identifying your decision makers and assigning owners to projects and tasks. A team that works in silos is never successful
- Setting timelines and milestones. Having a clear roadmap of requirements and the ownership
- User acceptance testing. We test the processes that we built inside the system, because we don’t want our end users and our technicians to essentially be the ones doing quality assurance, we check on how we did a good job on implementing
- The last and most critical aspect is having a good change management program. This clear plan will allow us to have a good strategy rolling it out to the end users:
- Making sure that the deployment is communicated to the teams prior
- Have the discussion on how you will perform the workflows
- Engage our stakeholders.
How important is it to understand the business processes prior to implementing a CMS?
Understanding the business outcomes will allow you to align your team’s activities, which then you’ll build process around. Then you’ll manage that process through your CMMS system, whereas resulting in repeatability, capturing those key data, and measuring the team’s impact and operations around the areas of business success. Making sure that we’re aligned across the board is critical. It will determine your team’s area of focus, which as I touched on, will focus determine the activities that they’re performing.
What type of configuration is required within the CMMS?
We first start off with standard standardizing, how are we going to look at location hierarchy? Where, how do we structure our facilities? That will determine where work is performed or where assets live. Having clarity around your hierarchy is critical because it will allow us to tell the technicians where to go do their jobs and give us granularity around reporting. The other part of it is the standardization of naming conventions. A clear naming convention can really make or break in implementation. We don’t want a software to determine our process. We want the process to determine what software that we need. Have clarity around the actual process.
I find that this area is underestimated in terms of time. Do you find the same thing?
That is the biggest lift during the implementation process. An organization that may have a less mature maintenance program and that has never used a digital tool to perform their job will not have a record of, or pieces of equipment. They will have to go and do the manual activity for the first time of capturing it. That includes capturing the names, the details of that piece of equipment. And then for other organizations that may be coming from legacy pieces of legacy software. There’s probably a reason why they’re moving off to legacy software because no one used it. And in that scenario, then at that point we probably have bad data or stale data in the system. We might have the information collected, but we still need to go through and clean it up. We have a saying here as well at Upkeep ‘clean data in is clean data out’ as it relates to reporting.
You mentioned the data quality side as well. Is it clean data? How important is it that we get that right?
If we populate inefficient or old or unstandardized data, we’re essentially going to create bad end user experience and your reporting is going to be really impacted negatively. We recommend taking that time, scheduling the events. Give a very finite amount of time for technicians to be accepting of a new tool. Make sure out of the gate, that system is well thought out and we have all the data needed for them to do their job successfully.
Who does the job? Is there usually an implementation team?
We see a couple different layers and it really depends on the size of the organization and the resources available. For the smaller teams, it’s most likely going to be the maintenance; it’s manager and the technicians going out and collecting that information. But we’re talking about a multi-site deployment across multiple states or multiple regions. There may be a tiger team that’s assembled that essentially will go from location to location to help with that standardization of the process. And then the other side of it is bringing in professional service resources, maybe from a consultant.
Do we really need that cross-functional piece where we’re pulling in maybe engineering, procurement, purchasing operations?
What I always recommend is that you have a stakeholder. It’s a fine balance between having too many cooks in the kitchen. Your stakeholders need to be the people that are either going to be using the system; those who need to get data out of the system or those who are going to be supporting, managing the actual system themselves.
How important is it to define those reports and build them during the implementation process?
How you build your system is going to determine what information you can get out of it. Understanding what the business needs to be successful will allow you to, again, understand your team’s focus, and if we have production or revenue goals, then our team activities and our process will align to ensure that those assets again are in top shape or in short breakdowns, or disruptions aren’t happening.
What do you think makes the biggest difference and successful with CMMS implementation?
It’s really about the team. Having the mindset of determining how we’re going to set it up and change management is going to be very important. A CMMS deployment is not only a process change, but it’s also a cultural change. This requires a thoughtful change management and getting that team buy into that. Are our end users in there? Are they performing their activities? And does that then allow us to capture the data that we need to make better decisions inside the business?
Do you have any recommendations for how to go about that change management?
Get that team to buy in early on. Find your champion; your number one technician that is on the ground, that is a motivator amongst your team. Get them excited about it so they can spread the word across the team about the benefits. Explain the why behind why you are deploying a CMMs system.
What’s the one thing you want our listeners to take away from the conversation today?
Take the time to plan your implementation and allocate time to the different steps and the resources. It can be really overwhelming implementing a CMS system and it’s easy to lose momentum quickly. A CMS system implementation is never truly done and a crawl, walk, run approach is, is applicable. Essentially calibrate where your team is at in their journey so it’s not overwhelming as well. Think through the process and allocate times, then setting them up for success.
Where can people find out more about you?
On our website www.upkeep.com. We also have our Upkeep maintenance community, which is made up of 5,000 maintenance professionals from around the world and really learning together. We provide value outside of just having a software system. We also have our maintenance community forum where we essentially have live chats every single day, talking about a wide variety of different topics.
Do you have a favorite resource?
If you go on our website, there is years of information that you can continue to. We have really utilized our quantity to help build that information.
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